Gas safety checks

Gas safety checks

  • All gas appliances in your property need to be safety checked by a Gas Safe registered engineer annually
  • If you rent your home and have gas appliances, your landlord must provide carbon monoxide alarms 
     

All gas appliances in your property need to be safety checked by a Gas Safe registered engineer annually. If the gas appliances in your home are unsafe, you could be at risk of fire, explosion or carbon monoxide poisoning. 

If you rent your home, your landlord must provide a copy of the annual gas safety check (dated within the last year) before your occupation contract starts.  Records of any gas safety checks carried out during your occupation contract must be given to you within 28 days.  

 For information on gas safety, call the HSE’s free Gas Safety Advice Line on 0800 300 363. 

Carbon monoxide 

If you rent your home and have gas appliances, your landlord must provide carbon monoxide alarms 

Carbon monoxide gas is known as the ‘silent killer’ because it’s invisible and has no smell. It’s also very poisonous and can kill quickly. Carbon monoxide can be produced if: 

  • gas appliances are not installed or maintained properly 
  • gas appliances are broken or not working properly 
  • flues or chimneys become blocked 
  • rooms are not adequately ventilated. 

How to stay safe from carbon monoxide

There are some things you can do, and things you should avoid doing, in order to minimise the risk of being exposed to carbon monoxide. For example:

  • Ensure rooms are well ventilated.
  • Do not block air vents or tape up windows.
  • Do not use your gas oven to heat your home.
  • Ensure chimneys and flues are swept annually by a qualified sweep.
  • Install carbon monoxide alarms in the correct position and test them regularly.
  • Ensure gas appliances are serviced annually (your landlord should do this. For more information see our Responsibility for gas safety page).
  • Never use BBQs in enclosed spaces or indoors.

How can I tell if carbon monoxide is present?

There are some signs to look out for that mean carbon monoxide could be present. These include:

  • Soot or stains around the boiler.
  • Extra condensation on windows.
  • Pilot light blowing out frequently.
  • Floppy orange flame in gas appliances (flame should be crisp and blue).

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning

Children, elderly people, pregnant women and people with respiratory problems are particularly at risk from carbon monoxide poisoning. The symptoms are similar to those of flu, and include:

  • tiredness
  • headaches,
  • nausea,
  • chest pains,
  • faintness,
  • confusion,
  • memory loss,
  • erratic behaviour,
  • diarrhoea 
  • difficulty breathing.  

If you regularly suffer from any of these symptoms and have gas appliances in your home, ask your doctor for a blood or breath test for carbon monoxide. If you are tested positively for the effects of carbon monoxide, you should immediately turn off your gas appliances and arrange for them to be checked by a registered gas installer. 

The Gas Safe Register website has more information. 

What should I do in an emergency? 

If you think there may be a gas leak in your home (for example, if you smell gas or your carbon monoxide detector goes off), there are several things you need to do : 

  • if you can, turn off the gas supply at the meter 
  • get out immediately, leaving the doors and windows open if possible for ventilation. Remember, don’t turn any electrical switches on or off (this includes light switches and the doorbell) and don’t smoke 
  • warn your neighbours 
  • call the National Gas Emergency number – 0800 111 999 (If you’re deaf or hard of hearing, you can use a textphone (Minicom) on 0800 371 787). An engineer will come out free of charge and disconnect either the leaking appliance or the entire gas supply if necessary. If possible, they will fix the problem straight away. Otherwise, they will isolate the faulty appliance so you can’t use it and turn the gas supply back on again. You’ll then need to arrange for a Gas Safe registered engineer to come and fix the appliance. 
  • report the leak to your gas supplier (for example, British Gas). 
  • Seek medical help immediately and ask for a carbon monoxide blood or breath test. 

If you are disabled, chronically ill or of retirement age, you might be covered by the Priority Services Register scheme and get more help.  Click here for more information. 

Responsibility for gas safety

Responsibility for gas safety

  • If you have gas appliances in your rented home, your landlord must have provided a Gas Safety Record and a carbon monoxide alarm
  • If your landlord doesn’t comply with gas safety rules it might be more difficult for them to evict you 

Landlords, contract-holders and owner-occupiers all have legal responsibilities when it comes to gas safety. 

What responsibilities do I have if I am renting? 

Allowing access
Landlords have a legal duty to have all gas appliances in their properties inspected on an annual basis. If you are a contract-holder, you must allow a registered gas installer access to your accommodation to carry out safety checks and, if necessary, repair work. Your landlord should give you adequate notice of the gas safety inspection. 

Being gas safety conscious
If any of the gas appliances in your home belong to you, you should arrange for a registered gas installer to check them each year as well. 

In an emergency
Call the National Gas Emergency Service immediately on 0800 111 999 if you smell gas or think there’s a gas leak. 

For information on gas safety, call the HSE’s free Gas Safety Advice Line on 0800 300 363. 

Do not use any gas appliances that you know or suspect to be unsafe. If there is a gas leak, you should try and prevent any further escapes of gas, for example by turning off the gas supply. 

What responsibilities do landlords have? 

Gas safety records
All landlords have to have a valid gas safety record for the gas equipment in the property they rent out. A copy of the record must be provided to the contract-holder. The record will list all appliances, including those owned by the contract-holder, although landlords are only responsible for the appliances that they own. Before you move into rented accommodation, you should always ask to see a copy of the current gas safety record. 

Gas safety records are valid for 12 months and can only be issued by a registered Gas Safe engineer. In order to give a gas safety record, the gas engineer must carry out a gas safety check. 

Fixing problems
If the gas engineer identifies any problems which affect gas safety, the landlord has to get them repaired. The gas engineer will take the appropriate action to make the installation safe, which may include disconnecting faulty equipment. They can also ask the gas provider to cut off the supply to the property if necessary. 

Keeping records
Your landlord must keep a record of the date of the safety check, any problems it highlighted and any work that was done to rectify these problems. Your landlord should give you a copy of this record within 28 days of the safety check. 

Carbon monoxide alarms 

If you are a secure or standard contract holder and your home has gas, oil-fired or solid fuel applicances, your landlord must provide a working carbon monoxide alarm. Your landlord should have ensured that you have a carbon monoxide alarm by 1 December 2022. 

If you have gas, oil-fired or solid fuel appliances and your landlord has not provided a carbon monoxide alarm, your home is classed as unfit to live in. If you are in this situation and your landlord is refusing to provide a carbon monoxide alarm, find out what you can do here.   

What if a landlord doesn’t comply? 

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is responsible for enforcing gas safety. You should get in touch with the HSE if your landlord: 

  • has not provided you with a valid gas safety record, or 
  • refuses to let you see records of safety checks, or 
  • doesn’t do any work required. 

Failure to follow gas safety requirements is a criminal offence and the HSE can issue a formal caution and may prosecute your landlord. If convicted, the landlord may be fined or even given a prison sentence. 

You can call the HSE helpline on 0845 345 0055 or 0800 300 363 or contact your nearest office – details are available on the HSE website. 

If you live in a house or flat that is occupied by more than two households (a house in multiple occupation or HMO), your local council also has powers to ensure that your landlord complies with the rules on gas safety.

Can my landlord evict me if they haven’t complied? 

If you have a standard occupation contract your landlord can’t give you a ‘no fault’ eviction notice if they haven’t provided the Gas Safety Record and a carbon monoxide alarm. However, they may still be able to evict you if you have broken your contract. 

Standard contract-holders are protected against retaliatory eviction. If your landlord gives you a ‘no fault’ eviction notice because you asked them to comply with the gas safety rules above, get help. An adviser can help explain the protection you have from retaliatory eviction and what you can do to prevent it.  

If you are a secure contract-holder your landlord can only evict you if you have broken the contract in some way. 

If you moved in before 1 December 2022 there might be different rules about how you can be evicted. For more information, take a look at our advice about eviction of converted contract-holders 

What are my responsibilities if I own my home? 

Getting gas safety checks
If you own your home, you should arrange for a gas safety check to be carried out once a year – this is not a legal requirement unless you have lodgers or tenants, but is recommended. 

Being gas safety conscious
If you suspect any gas appliances in your home may be faulty, don’t use them. Call out a registered gas engineer as soon as possible. If the gas engineer disconnects any appliances, you mustn’t reconnect them until any faults have been rectified. 

If you do, you are breaking the law. 

Declaration of Safety
If you are having a gas appliance installed or replaced, the registered gas installer will issue you with a notification called a Declaration of Safety. Keep this somewhere safe, as you’ll need it when you come to sell your home in the future, to prove that the work has been carried out properly by a registered engineer. 

Remember – never DIY with gas, it’s dangerous and likely to be illegal. 

Home safety

Home safety

This section looks at fire, gas and electrical safety. It explains how to prevent accidents and what you should do in an emergency. It also explains the responsibilities landlords have if you are renting your home. 

Complaining to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales

Complaining to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales

  • Complaints about community landlords can be brought to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales
  • You will probably have to use your landlord’s complaints procedure before the Ombudsman will consider your complaint 
     

If a community landlord won’t carry out repairs to your home and you’ve tried using their complaints procedure but aren’t satisfied with the result, you may be able to complain to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales. 

You may also be able to complain about the council’s environmental health department if they have not followed their procedures properly, or they refused to help you. 

What can the Ombudsman do? 

The Ombudsman will not investigate every complaint made to them. If they do decide to investigate your complaint, they will look into the way your landlord has dealt with your request for repairs, and decide whether they acted fairly and followed the correct procedures. If they agree with your complaint, they can recommend that your landlord takes steps to put things right, and may suggest that they pay you compensation. 

The Ombudsman’s decisions are not legally binding, but most landlords will usually follow them.

How do I make a complaint? 

The Public Services Ombudsman for Wales has information and forms explaining how to make a complaint on their website. You can submit a complaint online, using their online complaint form, or you can download, print off and send a complaint form by post. 

If this is not possible, you could also email [email protected], phone 0300 790 0203 or complain by any other method appropriate to your needs. 

Whichever way you complain, you should try and include all of the following information so that the Ombudsman can make a decision: 

  • when the disrepair started or was noticed 
  • the effect that the disrepair has had on you or members of your household 
  • how and when you complained about the disrepair to your landlord 
  • what you hope to achieve by complaining to the Ombudsman 
  • whether you have considered legal action as an alternative to approaching the Ombudsman 
  • copies of the most relevant documents that the Ombudsman needs to consider, such as occupation contract, photographs of the repairs that need to be done and letters / emails of complaints 
  • copies of any doctor’s notes or hospital reports which show that your health has been affected by the problem 
  • receipts for any money you need to spend because of the repair problem (eg if you had to replace damaged belongings) 
  • authorisation to act for someone else if necessary. 

It is worth getting help before you make your complaint. A Shelter Cymru adviser can help you put together the arguments you will need, and might be able to help you fill in the forms. 

Claiming compensation for disrepair if you have a community landlord

Claiming compensation for disrepair if you have a community landlord

  • Disrepair in your home could make you ill, cause you inconvenience and stress or cause damage to your belongings  
  • You might be able to claim compensation in court even after you move out 
  • Court action can be complicated and costly, so it is best to try other options first 

How do I claim compensation? 

A claim for compensation against your landlord should be brought in the county court. 

Click here for details of what is involved in taking court action and what steps you must take before starting your claim. 

See Citizen’s Advice for details of how to start a claim. 

Claiming for damage to your belongings 

If items belonging to you or anyone in your household are damaged or destroyed because of your landlord’s failure to carry out repairs, you may be able to claim compensation. This includes clothing, bedding and curtains that have been spoilt by damp and mould, or carpets and furniture damaged by water leaking from burst pipes your landlord hasn’t fixed. Sometimes contents insurance taken out by you or your landlord may cover these items. 

You could also claim compensation for items damaged or broken while repair work was being carried out. 

How much can I claim? 

You can claim the amount of money it will cost you to replace the damaged or destroyed items. This may only be the second-hand value of the goods, unless it would not be possible to buy second hand replacements. 

How do I support my claim?

Collect as much evidence of the damage as you can. If possible, don’t throw away the spoilt items – they may be helpful if you can produce them in court. You should also take photographs of any damaged goods, and keep receipts to prove that you’ve had to replace things. If you still have the original receipts for things that have been damaged, it will help to prove their worth.

Claiming for damage to your health 

You can also claim compensation if you or anyone in your household has been injured or made ill (or their health has got worse) as a result of your landlord’s failure to carry out repairs. The health problems may be physical (eg chest infections caused or worsened by damp, or injuries caused by unsafe stairs) or mental (eg. distress). 

How much can I claim? 

The amount of damages you can claim will depend on the severity of the illness. For example, if you’ve been unable to work as a result, you may be able to claim for loss of earnings and for any extra care you’ve needed. 

How do I support my claim?

You’ll have to prove to the court that the disrepair and your health problem are linked. The disrepair doesn’t have to be the only cause of the health problems, but it must have been a contributing factor. 

For example, if your child has asthma which is made worse by the damp conditions in your home caused by your landlord’s failure to carry out repairs, this would count as a contributing factor to your child’s illness. You may have to produce a surveyor’s report to prove the extent of the disrepair, as well as a medical report from your doctor. 

Contact one of our advisers if you need help with getting these reports. 

Claiming for inconvenience 

You are also entitled to claim compensation if you’ve suffered inconvenience or have not been able to use your home in the normal way as a result of your landlord’s failure to carry out repairs to your home. The amount of compensation awarded by the court will depend on the level of disrepair and the effect that it has had on you.

Claiming back some of your rent 

If you haven’t been able to use your home, or part of it, because of the disrepair, you may be entitled to an abatement (a reduction or refund) of rent. How much you can claim will depend on how much of your home is unusable. If no part of the house can be used, 100% of the rent may be abated. If only part of the house is unusable then the rent will be reduced proportionally. 

Abatement of rent is sometimes claimed under the heading of ‘inconvenience’, but you may be able to claim both, if the inconvenience is something other than the fact that you haven’t been able to use part of the property. 

Alternatives to going to court 

Court action can be complicated and costly, so it is best to try other options first.  

If the landlord involved is a community landlord it might be easier and less expensive to complain to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales instead.   

The ombudsman may not be able to award financial compensation. If they do it probably won’t be as much compensation that a court awards you if your court claim is successful. However, it is free to use and there is likely to be less risk and stress. Click here to find out more. 

Taking court action for disrepair

Taking court action for disrepair

  • If your landlord doesn’t do repairs or does them badly, you might be able to take them to court.  
  • You might be able to get a court order instructing your landlord to do the work that’s needed
  • You might be able to get Legal Aid to help with solicitor and court fees 

Is court action appropriate? 

You can take court action if you’ve asked your landlord to do repairs but they aren’t done within a reasonable period. 

You can ask the court to order your landlord to: 

In urgent situations it is sometimes possible for the court to order that your landlord carries out repairs immediately, by making an injunction. 

Court action can however be complicated and sometimes slow. It can also be expensive, unless you are entitled to legal aid. 

Court action should be a last resort. You should only consider it if you can afford it and have tried other options. 

What does it cost? 

Court fees
You usually have to pay court fees to take legal action. Fees can be reduced or waived if you claim benefits or have a low income.

Find out more about court fees on HM Courts and Tribunal Service. 

Expert fees
You might need to pay for:

  • an expert’s report to tell the court about the condition of your home 
  • a medical report if your health has been affected. 

A solicitor can arrange these for you. 

If you win your case, you can claim back these costs from your landlord. 

Legal aid
If you are on a low income legal aid might be able to help you with your fees.

You can only get legal aid: 

  • to order your landlord to carry out repair work that puts you or others in your household at risk 
  • if your landlord has started the eviction process due to rent arrears and your defence includes that repairs weren’t done. You might also be able to claim compensation if this is the case. 

You can check if you can get legal aid on the Gov.uk website. 

Alternatives to going to court 

Court action can be complicated and costly, so it is best to try other options first.  

If the landlord involved is a community landlord it might be easier and less expensive to complain to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales instead.  

The ombudsman may not be able to award financial compensation. If they do it probably won’t be as much compensation that a court awards you if your court claim is successful. However, it is free to use and there is likely to be less risk and stress. Click here to find out more. 

Where do I start? 

Taking court action for disrepair can be a long and complicated process. 

You may need help from a solicitor, but if your case can be dealt with in the small claims’ court, you may be able to represent yourself. 

Call the Civil Legal Advice helpline on 0345 345 4 345 or contact Shelter Cymru for initial advice. 

The Royal Court of Justice Advice Bureau has produced a series of leaflets to help people understand the County Court process. 

Preparing for your case 

  1. Report repairs
    Before you start court proceedings you must report the repairs to your landlord.

You don’t have to report repair problems if they are in communal areas, like shared hallways or the lift, but it is always best to let the landlord know. 

  1. Gather evidence
    You’ll need evidence to back up your claim, such as:
  • photographs of the things that need repairing 
  • your belongings that have been affected (such as clothes damaged by damp), or photographs of them. Work out how much they are worth 
  • copies of any letters you send to your landlord, and any written response you have received from them 
  • notes of any conversations you have with your landlord. Include dates, and what was agreed 
  • copies of any doctor’s notes or hospital reports which show that your health has been affected by the problem 
  • receipts for any money you need to spend because of the repair problem (eg if you have to replace clothes or furnishings because of mould) 
  • energy bills if you have had to spend more eg because of defects to your heating system. 
  1. Get an expert’s report
    It is possible that the court will need a report from experts such as an environmental health officer or surveyor. You can find surveyors in your area through the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors website. If possible you should try and agree the appointment of a surveyor with your landlord.

Find out how much it will cost before sending the letter of instruction to make sure you can afford it. In some situations you may be able to get legal aid to help cover the costs. 

  1. Record details
    Make sure you keep records  of the important details of your claim.

Do I need to warn the landlord before I start court action? 

Yes. There is a special procedure, which must be followed in all disrepair cases. This is called the Pre-Action Protocol for Housing Disrepair Cases. Before you start court action you must send a letter containing certain details to your landlord. 

Your letter must: 

  • explain what the disrepair problem is 
  • set out details of when you previously notified your landlord of the problem (you will need to show to the court that you have already sent an ‘early notification letter’ to your landlord setting out details of the disrepair) 
  • give the landlord 20 working days to put the problem right – unless the repair is urgent 
  • state that if the landlord doesn’t put the problem right within that time, you intend to take them to court. 

This letter is called a ‘letter of claim’. An adviser can help you prepare this letter. If, after the 20 working days are up, your landlord still hasn’t put the problem right, you can start a claim in the county court.

How can a court order help? 

The court will look at all the evidence you and your landlord have provided in order to decide if your landlord should do the repairs and, if so, what needs to be done about it. 

You could ask the court to: 

  • make an injunction, ordering your landlord to carry out specific repairs by a certain time 
  • make a declaration that you can do the repairs yourself and deduct the cost from future rent and that the landlord won’t be able to evict you for arrears. 

In emergency situations (eg if it’s dangerous to live in the property) the court may order your landlord to carry out the work immediately. The court may also decide that your landlord should pay you compensation. 

What if the landlord doesn’t comply? 

A landlord who does not carry out the works specified in a court order could be fined or even imprisoned. You will probably have to go back to court to take further action, but should not have to start the whole process again. 

Disruption and poor work when renting from a community landlord

Disruption and poor work when renting from a community landlord

  • Your landlord should fix any damage caused by contractors they have arranged 
  • If you can’t use your whole home, your landlord should refund you some of the rent.

Disruption and poor work in social housing 

If your landlord arranges repairs, it is their responsibility to make sure the work is carried out properly. This page explains what you can do if the work in your community landlord home isn’t done properly, or if the repairs cause major disruption. 

Poor work 

Your landlord must make sure that repairs are carried out properly. This includes ensuring that: 

  • the standard of the work is adequate 
  • the work has been not been delayed unreasonably 
  • the work has been finished 
  • the work has not caused other repair problems 
  • internal decorations and personal belongings have not been damaged. 

If you’re not happy with the standard of the repairs, you should report the problems to your landlord as soon as possible. If you are not happy with your landlord’s response you should complain, using your landlord’s formal complaints procedure (this may be set out in your occupation contract or in other documents your landlord has given you). 

If your landlord is the council and the repairs are minor, you can use the right to repair scheme  to claim compensation if the work isn’t done within a specific time limit. 

Damage to belongings / furnishings 

Your landlord must try to avoid damaging internal decorations and your personal belongings whilst repair works are being carried out. 

Your landlord is responsible for repairing any damage caused by the disrepair or by the work to fix it. For example, the landlord should repair any damaged plaster or wall coverings, repaint if needed and replace any damaged items such as carpets. 

You might be able to claim compensation in the county court if repair work has caused damage to your belongings or furnishings.

Disruption during repair works 

Your landlord should keep disruption to a minimum when they carry out repairs in your home. 

If your home needs serious repairs and this is very disruptive, or makes rooms unusable, you can ask your landlord for a reduction on your rent. This is called a ‘rent abatement’. You can do this while the repairs are being carried out or after the repair work has been done. 

The amount you can get will depend on how much of the property you can use. For example, if you can only use half the property while the repairs are being carried out, you should get a 50% reduction of your rent. However, you can’t claim a rent abatement if you rent from the council and are claiming Housing Benefit. 

If your landlord refuses to give you a rent abatement, you might be able to claim compensation in the county court. 

You do not automatically have the right to stop paying rent during repairs.

Can workmen use my electricity and gas? 

Inevitably, the landlord’s workers will have to use your supply of electricity, gas and other services during repair works. If you think the usage is excessive, or if it continues for a long time, speak to your landlord and see if you can arrange for them to make a contribution towards your utility bills. 

Moving out temporarily 

If your landlord needs to carry out major repairs to the property, such as structural work or asbestos removal, they may ask you to move out for a while. 

If this happens, before you move out, ask your landlord about: 

  • paying rent 
  • how it will affect a housing benefit claim 
  • how much they will pay towards any extra costs you have, such as removal costs 
  • how long the work will take. 

You should also ask for your landlord’s agreement in writing that you’ll be able to move back to your home after repairs are finished. 

Your landlord might offer you temporary accommodation for you and your household but is under no obligation to do so. Check your occupation contract to see if it says anything about the circumstances under which they will offer temporary accommodation. If your contract does not mention it, your landlord might have a policy that describes the procedure they will follow,

Moving out permanently 

If your landlord is unable to carry out major repairs with you still in the property and you won’t move out voluntarily, your landlord may try to evict you. 

If you have a community landlord you can usually only be evicted for work to be carried out if they can offer you suitable alternative accommodation. If you have been living in your home for over a year, you might be able to get a home loss payment. You will need to apply to your landlord for this payment.  

If you are being evicted by your landlord, get help. 

Right to repair scheme if the council is your landlord

Right to repair scheme if the council is your landlord

  • If your landlord is the council you might be able to use the right to repair scheme to get small repair jobs done quickly
  • To qualify for the scheme the repair must cost less than £250 to carry out 

What is the right to repair scheme? 

The right to repair scheme is designed to ensure that contract-holders renting from the council can get certain minor repairs completed quickly and easily. It sets time limits for certain types of repair, which councils must stick to. If the contractors the council uses don’t do the work in that time, you can ask them to hire someone else. If the repairs still aren’t done, you can claim compensation. 

What repairs are covered under the scheme? 

The right to repair scheme only covers certain repairs, known as ‘qualifying repairs’, which cost less than £250 to carry out. They include repairs to: 

  • unsafe power or lighting sockets or electrical fittings 
  • blocked flues to fires or boilers 
  • leaking roofs 
  • toilets that won’t flush
  • blocked sinks, baths or basins 
  • leaking or flooding from pipes, tanks or cisterns 
  • loose or broken banisters or handrails. 

Your landlord may need to come and look at the problem before they can tell you whether it is a qualifying repair. Ask the council for a full list of repairs that come under the scheme. 

Reporting repairs under the scheme 

Always report a repair to your landlord as soon as you can. Most councils have an online system for reporting repairs. 

Use the Gov.UK search tool to find out how to report a repair under the scheme in your area. 

When you report a qualifying repair, your landlord should: 

  • tell you how long it should take to fix the problem 
  • explain your rights under the right to repair scheme 
  • give you the contact details of the contractor who they usually get to do this type of repair, and at least one other approved contractor 
  • arrange for you to be at home to let the contractor in. 

How long do repairs take under the scheme? 

All work has to be carried out within 1, 3 or 7 working days, depending upon the urgency of the repair. 

For example: 

1 working day if: 

  • no water or electricity, you have no gas, or the supply is reduced 
  • the flue to an open fire or boiler is blocked 
  • the heating or hot water are not working between 31 October and 1 May 
  • electrical lighting or other fittings are unsafe. 

3 working days if: 

  • partial loss of water or electricity 
  • the heating or hot water are not working between 1 May and 31 October 
  • a sink bath or basin is blocked 
  • a tap cannot be turned 
  • you have a loose banister or handrail, or rotten wood on the floor or stair treads. 

7 working days if: 

  • roof is leaking 
  • a door entry phone is not working 
  • an extractor fan is broken. 

What if I’m not there when the contractor arrives? 

If you’re not home at the arranged time to let in the contractor, the repair work will be cancelled and you’ll need to start the procedure again. 

What if the repairs aren’t done in time? 

If the contractor doesn’t turn up to do the work by the last day of the time limit set, call the council again. They should call another contractor on their list, to arrange for them to do the work. 

You can’t use a contractor who isn’t on your landlord’s list. 

How much compensation can I claim? 

If the second contractor doesn’t do the repairs by the time limit, you are normally entitled to £10 in compensation. For every extra day you wait, you will get another £2, up to a maximum of £50. 

If you have rent arrears, the amount will be deducted from your arrears rather than being paid to you directly.

What if a repair isn’t covered? 

The right to repair scheme does not cover repairs that cost more than £250 to carry out. Your landlord should have a procedure for dealing with these kinds of repairs. Ask your landlord about the procedure, or check your occupation contract and other documents that your landlord provided for the procedure to report repairs.  

When you report the repair, your landlord should let you know if they will carry out the repair/s and how long it will take to get the work done. There is no legal time limit, but the work should be done within a reasonable time. 

Can I withhold rent and pay for the repairs myself?

Can I withhold rent and pay for the repairs myself?

  • Using rent money to pay for repairs increases the risk of your landlord trying to evict you
  • You are responsible for the quality of any work you arrange to be done in your home
  • If you caused damage in your home you are responsible for the costs of putting it right 

If you have caused damage to the property, or if your landlord is refusing to do repairs which are their responsibility, then you might need to do the repairs yourself. 

In both situations you must follow the correct procedure and understand the risks involved. 

Download our disrepair factsheet for further information. 

Responsibility for damage 

If you accidentally or deliberately damage your home in any way, you will be responsible for any costs involved in putting it right. It may be better to get the damage repaired yourself – otherwise you could be charged by your landlord when you leave. Get the landlord’s agreement before any work is started and always get receipts for any work you have done, and for any parts or materials you buy.

What if my landlord is refusing or delaying carrying out repairs? 

If you have a community landlord and they are refusing to do repairs which are their responsibility, then you might decide to use your rent money to do the repairs yourself. 

You do not have a right to withhold your rent and so you should only use your rent money to pay for the repairs if you follow the correct procedure and understand the risks involved. 

Download our disrepair factsheet for further information. 

Withholding rent 

You do not have the right to stop paying rent because your landlord won’t do repairs. Always think carefully before withholding rent.  

How easy would it be for the landlord to evict me if I withheld rent? 

This depends on the type of renting agreement you have. If you have an introductory standard contract or a prohibited conduct standard contract or another kind of standard contract with a community landlord, you can’t be evicted to avoid carrying out work or repairs, but it might be easier to evict you if you have rent arrears.  

If you do not have an occupation contract and are an occupier with basic protection or an excluded occupier (e.g., if you have a licence in temporary or supported accommodation), you can be usually be evicted without your landlord giving a reason and you are not protected from retaliatory eviction. If you have limited rights and the repairs are not essential, it may be better to live with things as they are. It is usually better to get the repairs done in another way.  

Whatever type of renting agreement you have, it’s essential to follow the correct procedure (see below).  

Your landlord can take steps to evict you if you don’t pay the rent, even if you have a good reason why you are not paying. 

If you do decide to stop paying rent, you should keep the rent money aside in a separate bank account. This will ensure that you can pay off the rent arrears immediately if you have to. 

How to deduct repair costs from rent 

It is possible to do repairs without your landlord’s agreement and take the cost out of your rent but it is very risky. You must follow the correct procedure (see below) otherwise you risk being evicted for rent arrears. 

Be sure to keep copies of all letters and emails, and keep accurate records of what you have paid and when. 

 1. Write to your landlord letting them know what repairs are needed and allow time for them to be done. 

2. Write to your landlord telling them that you will arrange the work yourself unless they are done within a certain time. 

3. Get 3 quotes for the repair work from reliable contractors. 

4. Send the quotes to your landlord. 

5.If your landlord hasn’t responded, arrange for the work to be done by the contractor that gave the cheapest quote. 

6. Pay for the work yourself and send a copy of the receipt to your landlord, asking them to refund the money. 

7. If your landlord doesn’t pay you, write and confirm that you are going to deduct the money from your future rent.  

Will I be responsible for the quality of the work? 

Yes. Make sure the repairs are carried out properly – whether you do them yourself or get a professional in to do them. Never try to do them yourself if you’re not sure what you’re doing, or if gas or electricity is involved. If you carry out or arrange repairs that are done badly, you’ll be legally responsible for the consequences. 

Disrepair affecting health if you have a community landlord

Disrepair affecting health if you have a community landlord

  • Community landlords should ensure your home is not a risk to your health and safety
  • You might be able to take court action to get your landlord to remove the hazards in your home
  • You can complain to the ombudsman if your landlord or the council’s environmental health department don’t take your concerns seriously 

Health and safety standards in community landlord homes 

All community landlord homes must meet certain health and safety standards. If they fail to meet those standards the conditions could cause a hazard to your household. 

In situations like these, the environmental health department of your local council may be able to help. If not, you may be able take your landlord to court. 

Your home should also be fit to live in. To find out more, click here. 

The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) 

If you are worried about conditions in your home, you can contact your local council’s environmental health department. 

The council can inspect your home and use the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) to assess if there are risks to your health and safety. 

The HHSRS looks at lots of different things, including: 

It covers problems in communal areas and outside spaces as well as problems inside the house. 

What should I do first? 

Before you take action, you should first report any problems to your landlord in writing, and allow a reasonable time for your landlord to fix them. The time needed will depend on the urgency of the problem. If the landlord does nothing, you could send a second letter, warning that you will contact the environmental health department if the work is not done by a certain deadline. 

Remember to keep a copy of any letter or email you send. 

What can the environmental health department do? 

If your landlord does not respond or deal with the problems, you can ask the council’s environmental health department to come out and inspect your home.

The inspection should happen quickly if there’s a serious risk of harm to you or your family. You might have to wait longer for an inspection at busy times of the year or if the disrepair problems are less urgent. 

If the environmental health officer decides that your home includes a serious hazard, they should take action. The action they can take depends on the type of community landlord you have: 

My landlord is the council 

If your landlord is the council, the environmental health department can only provide limited help. They can send a report or informal notice to your housing office telling them what work needs to be done. 

However, as part of the council they can’t take formal enforcement action against themselves. 

Use your landlord’s complaints procedure if the housing office won’t do the work that’s needed or doesn’t pay attention to the environment health report. If your landlord still does not resolve the issue/s you can complain to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales. 

My landlord is a housing association 

If your landlord is a housing association, the environmental health department can take enforcement action against your landlord. They may order them to take action to tackle the problems in your home. They can do this by issuing: 

  • a hazard awareness notice – warning your landlord that the environmental health department of the council is aware of the problem 
  • an improvement notice – ordering your landlord to carry out certain repairs or improvements by a certain time. 

Use your housing association’s complaints procedure if they don’t do the work that’s needed. If the housing association still does not resolve the issue/s you should inform environmental health department. You can also complain to the ombudsman. 

What if the environmental health team won’t help me? 

If the environmental health department doesn’t take action, you may be able to: 

  • take the landlord to court yourself 
  • use your landlord’s complaints procedure 
  • complain to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales 
  • challenge the environmental health department’s decision not to take action by complaining to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales or by way of judicial review through the courts. 

Get help from Shelter Cymru if you are considering doing any of these things.